Lawmakers and businessmen want to see taxes on internet retailers
Local businessmen joined with Senator Jack Reed and Governor Lincoln on Monday to call for the passage of a bill that would require internet retailers to collect state sales taxes.
"The reason there is broad bipartisan support for the Marketplace Fairness Act is because this is an issue of simple fairness. Whether they are located online or on the corner, all retailers should be treated equally under the law. We need to put Rhode Island-based businesses and workers on a level playing field so they can compete against out-of-state retailers that unfairly benefit from tax loopholes. The Marketplace Fairness Act will help restore competitive balance and gives states the flexibility to opt in or out," said Senator Reed, who is a sponsor of the bill in the United States Senate.
The bill allows states to enforce their currently existing state taxes on internet vendors such as Amazon.com. One study estimated over $70 million in uncollected state sales taxes because the state is unable to collected revenue from internet vendors.
"I have long advocated for passage of Marketplace Fairness legislation," Governor Chafee said. "As I travel across Rhode Island talking to bricks-and-mortar business owners, this topic of fairness often comes up. The Marketplace Fairness Act will help Rhode Island businesses by leveling the playing field between Main Street stores and online retailers, and it will bring valuable revenue to our state."
Among business owners in attendance at the news conference were Nick, Ron, and Pete Cardi of Cardis Furniture and Bruce Charleson of Arnold Lumber. Proponents of the bill say it will level the business playing field and help the state gain more revenue without raising taxes.